NUS High Oratorical Challenge

By Shina Tan

The NUS High Oratorical Challenge is an inaugural competition open to students from various primary schools, where more than 20 budding orators from schools all over Singapore stood in front of an audience of their peers, teachers and parents to share their stories and speeches. It is a test of the students’ writing and speaking skills, both in terms of narrative and informative pieces.

The challenge consisted of two rounds, followed by showcases from the Gavel and Drama clubs. In the first round, participants had to narrate their stories written based on the title ‘24 hours’ and three accompanying photos, including one of heavy traffic and another of a man in a white lab coat. Most of the students told touching stories on saving lives as doctors or on natural disasters, though one that stood out was a student from Juying Primary School who told a story from the point of view of a girl whose grandfather was dying. Instead of being the superhero, her main character could only watch by the sidelines.

After the first round, participants took a short break to enjoy some refreshments. “It was interesting and fun to know that there are so many different ways to approach a topic,” a participant told us, referring to the stories in the first round. Indeed, no two students wrote the exact same story, even though the prompts were the same. In fact, their stories were varyingly mature and had vastly different plotlines.

Following which, the students made informative speeches on their topic of choice – Global Warming, Space Exploration or Artificial Intelligence. Here, the participants explained as much as possible about their topic in the short 2.5 minutes given. Again, even students who picked the same topic tended to take different stances and approach the subject matter differently.

While judges took the time to consolidate the scores and determine the winners, the audience enjoyed some showcases put up by our CCAs. A member of the Gavel Club amazed the audience with a speech on how our authority figures are not there to restrict us, but to enable us to do more and do better, using the comparison of brakes on a race car. The Drama Club worked very hard to put up a good play for us, showing us what our lives would look like without the internet which we are so accustomed to. The showcases highlighted the spirit of NUS High and the effort put in by the clubs really paid off.

Overall, the Oratorical Challenge was a great experience – we can only hope to top it next year!

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